Specialized toys, dimming lights and sound machines are available for patients with sensory sensitivities.

The Children's Hospital at TriStar Centennial is pleased to announce a new program to better care for patients with sensory sensitivities. The pediatric ER and the Kids Express Clinic are both piloting autism and sensory friendly rooms to help ease anxiety and provide a smoother experience for families.

The sensory-friendly rooms feature adaptable lights, monitor and sound control, specialized toys and visual story boards to help prepare patients for procedures. The launch of the program also included staff education in Autism Spectrum Disorder and sensory challenges. Physicians, nurses and Childlife Specialists have received training in best practices for communicating with sensory sensitive patients.

"We understand that an emergency room visit can be stressful and overstimulating for pediatric patients with sensory sensitivities," said Joann Ettien, Chief Operating Officer of the Children's Hospital at TriStar Centennial. "Our goal is to reduce anxiety and to create a calming environment so patients can get the high quality, emergency care that The Children's Hospital at TriStar Centennial is known for."

The program also extends to our Kids Express Clinic where pediatricians can refer patients for outpatient services like imaging, lab services, IV antibiotics and respiratory treatments. The clinic staff has also been trained in sensory disorders and there is a dedicated room in the clinic with specialized toys.

If a family would like to notify staff about a sensory disorder, there is a form they can fill out upon arrival to let the staff know about a child's specific communication abilities and stressors.

The program launched in early June, and with plans to extend the service hospital-wide in the coming months.